By Bridget O’Donnell
Stephon Marbury kisses the trophy after the Beijing Ducks win the CBA championship.
With a long-awaited CBA title now under his belt, Chinese sports fans may be wondering what’s next for Stephon Marbury (besides for losing his LA home in a foreclosure).
During an appearance on Beijing’s BTV last week, the Ducks point guard told viewers that he isn’t planning on leaving China anytime soon. “I love it here,” he said.
The basketball superstar (in)famously made headlines in 2010 after forfeiting his NBA career to come play in China. In the States, Marbury had been disowned — his brash attitude and multi-billion dollar salary with the New York Knicks, which many saw as overpriced, found him few fans. He was even given the nickname “Starbury” because of his notoriously narcissistic personality.
The ridicule Marbury endured from sportswriters and fans alike upon moving to China is well-documented. No one believed “Starbury” would even make it through a year with the Shanxi Brave Dragons (his first CBA team).
But as Jon Pastuszek (of Niubball.com) writes on Beijing Cream, opinions on Marbury have done a complete 180 in the three seasons since, thanks in part to his own efforts to rehabilitate his image. Writes Pastuszek:
Over the last season, Year Three, Marbury found his home as a Beijing ye menr – a true Beijinger, in the eyes of the people who live here. He’s not just a basketball player, he’s a fixture of the city, a daily participant in its day-to-day. He continues to go to Guo’an soccer games, he chats with fans on Sina Weibo (Chinese Twitter), he writes a weekly China Daily column and occasionally rides the subway to practice. People feel that it’s genuine.
Though Marbury was the clear MVP of this year’s championship series, he was ineligible for the award — it’s only given out to Chinese players.
Still, that didn’t stop thousands of fans from chanting “Ma bu li, MVP!” during the final game.
Image via Xinhua.